In addition to loss of support, wrongful death actions in many states require the estimation of lost net accumulation to the estate or loss of inheritance as a separate element of damages. Conceptually, net estate accumulations are simply a loss of the difference between the value of the estate in the future, had the tort not occurred, compared to the value of the estate at the actual time of death. This approach allows for recovery claims by individuals who were not directly supported by the deceased, including adult children. As a result, these types of actions are sometimes referred to as “survivorship cases” as opposed to “wrongful death cases.”

It has been the authors' experience that in these types of cases, numerous conceptual errors are made in terms of what is meant by net estate accumulation and, most important to the forensic economist, how it is measured. The purpose of...

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